Reply To: 15 y/o daughter is begging to be put on ADD meds.

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#114022
iamlaurens
Participant

Hey there. Here’s my two cents. It’s long, but I think it will provide some insight.

Since I was a kid I wanted to be a Paramedic. I got to high school, and needless to say it was a struggle. I failed chemistry, taking only one of the two required semesters, took biology three times, finally getting a “C”, and did “alright” in Anatomy & Physiology, getting “C”s. I graduated HS with a 2.8 (this isn’t even touching the social aspects of my experience). In community college, I actually did a bit better, I think it was the freedom, and reacquainting myself with swimming and water polo. I went on to art school, got a degree in Wood/Furniture, and proceeded to adulthood. I was miserable.

Toward the end of college I finally got the ADHD diagnosis and started taking Adderall. It did help but, in hindsight, the dose was too high. I didn’t like how differently I felt, so I went off of it probably 1-2 years after that.

After flailing, trying to make it on my own, learning the adult lessons, barely making bills, being broke constantly… just an overall black hole, I decided to give an EMT certification a shot. It turned out I was good at it. I was not yet back on medication, but I did have some left over from my previous prescription, so I decided to take a smaller dose, and only when I needed it. This was the key. Let me say that again, taking just the right dose at the times you actually need it, is the key.

I got back on meds (this doctor believed in an “as needed” prescription, so that was helpful) took A&P, got A’s. At the age of 31 I moved home with my parents, took Micro, and Chemistry, and got A’s. I just applied to Nursing school and I’m kicking ass. Though, I confess, as I’m writing this I’m stalling my Pharmacology studies, oddly enough.

There’s this misconception that medication is an all or none, and if you take something like Vyvanse, it is… there’s no option. But I found 5 mg Adderall tabs as needed not only helps, but keeps me from building a tolerance and needing a larger dose periodically. I, so far, have not adjusted my dose since going back on meds. But they are, without a doubt, one of the most important tools in my tool box. That and counseling.

One last thing, I can’t express enough just how detrimental not being able to accomplish what I felt I was smart enough to do in high school was to my self-confidence and self-esteem. I think things could have been different if I was on medication in high school. There are other factors: crappy teachers, crappy kids, etc., but I would have liked the option.